Another week of the off-season, another week of Angels free agency and trade rumors. While the world watched the Angels as they hosted C.J. Wilson, it appears the rumor mill had already moved on to churning out a number of wild trade rumors as well as some perfectly reasonable rumors that quickly got out of control. Come get some fresh Hot Stove League rumors!
But not for crazy baseball fans on the internet.
- First the big rumor to make the rounds, the Angels acquiring Geovany Soto and Carlos Marmol in a package involving Hank Conger. On the surface, this trade makes a lot of sense for the Angels since they getting a starting catcher who is at least average defensively and anywhere between average and great with the bat. Plus, they get that late-inning righty power arm for the bullpen they’ve been looking for. The move saves the Cubs a lot of money and nets them a top catching prospect and likely even more decent prospects beyond that. So, it at least makes sense that the two sides have talked. Will it happen? I doubt it. For one, the Marmol part seems like a poor fit for the Angels since Dipoto values guys who control counts and/or get grounders. Marmol does neither. He is strikeout machine, but he is also a walk machine and a flyball pitcher. As for Soto, I think the Angels would love to have him, but trading him away would be a sign of the Cubs completely rebuilding from scratch and that seems like a bit of a stretch. He’s under team control for two more seasons and Chicago doesn’t need to save the money, so they should be only looking to move him if they get a huge return, which I don’t think the Angels can provide.
- This one isn’t very exciting, but it is believed that Trevor Reckling is being heavily scouted by other teams in lieu of a trade right now. Let’s assume this is true and he is line to be moved. Given his recent elbow problems and less than thrilling levels of performance, it is hard to imagine he is going to be the centerpiece of anything more than a trade for a mid-profile middle reliever. Even as a secondary or tertiary trade piece, Reckling’s inclusion doesn’t bode terribly well. His stagnation in Double-A has greatly lowered his perceived ceiling and thus his value. If this were a bigger deal, teams would be asking for low-level arms with high ceilings like Ariel Pena. Think of how the Angels traded away Skaggs and Corbin for Haren and not more sure bet prospects Sean O’Sullivan.
- We talked a bit about the Ryan Hanigan rumors last week, but then things took a turn for the crazy, which I love. Nothing gives me more chuckles than seeing an innocent little rumor about a part-time catcher ballooning into an over-the-top blockbuster deal. Despite no indication that the Hanigan rumor was about anyone other than Hanigan, Angel fans and Red fans (to a lesser extent) have managed to turn the potential trade into one involving Ervin Santana and Yonder Alonso and even more. I don’t blame people, really. The Reds have an obvious need for a starting pitcher and the Angels need all the offensive help they can get. Can the Reds afford Santana’s salary? I kind of doubt it. Do the Angels have a place for Alonso to hit? Not unless they trade Trumbo, and even then probably not. But hey, making up our own mega-trades is much more fun than pondering a small deal for a back-up catcher.
- Now, if you really want to get into tiny rumors, there is one I saw about the Tigers and Alexi Amarista. It is unclear to me if this is an actual rumor or just blogger speculation, but the fact that someone is even talking about Amarista while the likes of Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes are still available blows my mind. Don’t teams have bigger fish to fry (and that isn’t an Amarista-is-short joke, though maybe it should be)? I know the middle infielder market is getting out of control, but seriously people, get your priorities straight.
- The funniest thing about all these rumors is that they get us all, myself included, into a frenzy. We CANNOT wait for some kind of trade to go down, even if it is insignificant. But if we think about it in a rational manner for even a second, we’d quickly realize nothing is going to happen, not for a another week or two anyway. The Winter Meetings start next week and THAT is when all the business gets completed. Any rumor or potential trade you hear about now is either a GM, especially a new GM like Dipoto, doing his homework and checking in on who might be available and for what price, or is just total nonsense.